Monday, May 05, 2008

FC clinch promotion

Graham Hardcastle
5/ 5/2008

FC United manager Karl Marginson has set his sights on what would be an amazing four successive promotion.

The Rebels safely confirmed their passage to the Unibond Premier Division with a pulsating victory over Skelmersdale in the Division One North play-off final at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

And with it came their third promotion in three years of existence. Two penalties from Nicky Platt and Rory Chadwick were complimented with strikes from captain marvel Dave Chadwick and sub Chris Baguley.

The visitors had gone ahead in front of a bumper crowd of 3,258 thanks to Sean McConville's stunning tenth minute free-kick.

But Skem finished the game with nine men after referee Billy Khatib dismissed skipper Michael White and Kevin Leadbetter.

Marginson said: "We've had three fantastic seasons - this promotion is the best of the lot.

"Four promotions has got to be the aim. We will be setting our stall out to go as far as we can. We will start off with the first game, try and win that, and then see where it takes us.

"I know they are all clichés, but there is nothing more true. You have got to take each game as it comes. We have got to judge each game on its own merit, and try and win football matches. That has been our philosophy in three years - it's not been a bad one."

After going behind early on, the Reds drew level six minutes before the break when White saw red for handling Jerome Wright's goalbound header. Platt clinically converted from the spot.

Defender Chadwick, who had been a doubt with a hamstring strain, gave the hosts the lead when he nodded home a long free-kick on 51 minutes.

Any hopes of a Skem recovery were completely banished just after the hour. Michael Duffy was harshly penalised for deliberately handling in the box.

Platt smashed the ball against the bar, only to see it balloon to the edge of the box where another penalty was awarded for minimal contact in a scramble.

Star striker Rory Patterson converted but only after the ball had spun into the net off the hand of keeper Rory McMahon.

Skem sub Leadbetter was dismissed for referee abuse, while sub Chris Baguley added a fourth with a low 20-yard drive ten minutes from time.